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Article: The rediscovery of simple things - pencils

Die Wiederentdeckung der einfachen Dinge – Bleistifte

The rediscovery of simple things - pencils

Why pencils? Haven't they been abolished long ago?
There are things that seem like a misconstruction at first. Writing on smooth paper? No way.
Despite this, great plans, design ideas and texts in world history would not have come into being if it were not for this combination of graphite lead - strictly speaking, in classic pencils the lead is a mixture of graphite, clay and wax with a binder - and wooden casing.

Blackwing_Pencil New edition of a cult pencil. Blackwing 602, Made in Japan

However, pencils don't make it easy. Viewed soberly, they have practically all the disadvantages of other forms of writing. They are perishable, fragile, not document-proof, undigital. But fortunately that is not all. For there is hardly a form of writing that allows for more clarity and tranquillity. But that begins with discipline.


View of our cabinet with various writing utensils


9B, 2B, F, 4H or 9H: These are not secret codes, but abbreviations that are quite easy to decipher. Some pencils are very soft, and even very little pressure produces a dark line on the paper. Hence the "B", which stands for "black". The others are very hard, hence the "H" for "hard". The number in front of the letter indicates the increasing hardness and blackness. The bigger the number, the blacker or harder the pencil.


Drawing pencil by Atelier Fessler, handmade in Berlin


OTHO Pencils 2.0 Made in Japan


As is so often the case, the challenging is the appealing: writing with a pencil means taking care of the tool again and again. The more you write and draw with them, the more attention they need. For they require us to pause again and again and to make sure that we can really work, write and live well. They remind us that we should not only take care of the content, but also of the form of our lives.


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